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Reading Tax to be Scrapped in New Budget

By March 12, 2020News

Earlier this year, authors, book lovers and the publishing industry backed a petition, launched by the ‘Axe the Reading Tax’ campaign, asking the government to end the penalisation of digital reading. EBooks and audiobooks, unlike physical books, are subject to VAT, however, in December 2018, the EU allowed their members to cut the tax on digital reading. Many countries have already made the change and now, the UK is following suit.

In his 2020 budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Member of Parliament for Richmond (Yorks), Rishi Sunak, announced his plans to scrap the ‘reading tax’, and end the inequality faced by those who prefer or need to read digitally.

“I’ve talked today about Britain being the country of scientists, inventors and engineers. But we’re also the country of Shakespeare, Austen and Dahl,” Sunak said in his speech, “Our greatest export to the world is our language. Our greatest asset is the free exchange of ideas and debate. And our greatest responsibility is the education of our people. A world-class education will help the next generation to thrive. Nothing could be more fundamental to that than reading. And yet digital publications are subject to VAT. That can’t be right. So today I am abolishing the reading tax.”

Axe the Reading Tax expressed their delight at the news on Twitter where they wrote, “Thank you to @RishiSunak at @hmtreasury for zero-rating VAT on eBooks in today’s budget, committing to improve childhood literacy for the 45% of children who prefer to read digitally and children from low-income families who are more likely to read on this format.”

They then added, “We are thrilled that VAT will be removed from e-publications following the new Budget. This will mark an end to illogically taxing people who need or prefer to read digitally.”

Finally, they went on to thank those who got involved in their campaign, Tweeting, “Thank you so much to all the authors, organisations, parliamentarians and members of the public who called on the Chancellor to remove this 20% tax that acts as a barrier to literacy and discriminates against people who struggle to use or handle printed books.”

This change exciting change for digital readers will take place from the first of December, when literature including; books, newspapers, magazines, text books, and academic journals will have no VAT charge no matter how you choose to read them!

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